WASHINGTON — An anonymous source told Bloomberg that President Donald Trump is “not ready to act” on threatened auto import tariffs following a Tuesday meeting with his top trade advisers. At issue is a Commerce Department report on the national security implications of new trade restrictions. A final draft is due from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in February.
If the report deems auto imports to be a national security threat, the president will have 90 days to decide whether to act and another 15 days to execute any prescribed measures, which could include tariffs as well as quotas.
Trump has threatened new tariffs as high as 25% on foreign-made cars. The NADA has estimated prices could rise by as much as $2,270 on affected U.S.-built cars and trucks and $6,875 on imported vehicles. Business and government leaders have repeatedly warned the administration such a move would disrupt the global automotive industry and the growth and stability of the U.S. economy.
News of a delay was greeted by stock-market gains for Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota. Vehicles built in Canada and Mexico are exempt from new tariffs — subject to caps — thanks to deals negotiated under the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Manufacturers in nations belonging to the European Union are believed to be exempt for as long as talks continue on a new trade pact.
“We are under the assumption that is still valid,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told Bloomberg, referring to a mutually agreed-upon halt on new tariffs from either side.